Fauci says it’s ‘safe enough’ to reopen schools as teachers unions demand remote learning amid omicron

Written by on January 3, 2022

By Anugrah Kumar, christian Post Contributor

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing to discuss the ongoing federal response to COVID-19 on May 11, 2021, in Washington, D.C. |

The White House’s Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci says it’s “safe enough” for kids to return to school after the holiday break although the omicron variant of the coronavirus is infecting Americans at an “unprecedented” rate,

“If you look at the safety of children with regard to infection, we have most of the teachers, [an] overwhelming majority of them are vaccinated. We now can vaccinate children from 5 years of age and older,” Fauci told “This Week With George Stephanopoulos” on ABC News Sunday.

State, local and federal government data compiled by The New York Times shows that while the daily average of COVID-19 infections peaked at about 251,000 last January, the omicron variant has led to an average of about 400,000 cases per day at the beginning of 2022. 

“We are definitely in the middle of a very severe surge an uptick in cases,” Fauci, who leads the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said. 

“Even if you have a less of a percentage of severity, when you have multi-multi-multi-fold more people getting infected, the net amount is you’re still going to get a lot of people that are going to be needing hospitalization. … And that’s the reason why we’re concerned about stressing and straining the hospital system.”

But that doesn’t mean schools shouldn’t reopen, Fauci stated.

“Wearing masks in the school setting, doing test-to-stay approaches when children get infected, I think all those things put together, it’s safe enough to get those kids back to school, balanced against the deleterious effects of keeping them out,” he said. 

Fauci’s comments come as teachers unions in several states have lobbied for a temporary return to remote learning following the holiday break due to the rising number of omicron infections. A teachers union in Chicago has threatened a strike if their demands for a two-week return to remote learning or a requirement that students and staff test negative to return to school aren’t met. 

An average of 378 children under the age of 17 were admitted per day to a hospital between Dec. 22 and Dec. 28 — a 66% rise compared to the previous week, The Associated Press reported, citing CDC data.

Last week, Fauci told MSNBC host Ayman Mohyeldin that the data on number of children hospitalized with COVID can be a bit misleading because many were admitted with unrelated ailments before testing positive.

“First of all, quantitatively, you’re having so many more people, including children, who are getting infected. And even though hospitalization among children is much, much lower on a percentage basis than hospitalizations for adults, particularly elderly individuals, when you have such a large volume of infections among children, even with a low level of rate of infection, you’re going to still see a lot more children who get hospitalized,” he said.

“But the other important thing is that if you look at the children who are hospitalized, many of them are hospitalized with COVID as opposed to because of COVID.”

Fauci said that if a child goes to the hospital, they automatically get tested for COVID and will be counted as a COVID-hospitalized patient “when in fact, they may go in for a broken leg or appendicitis or something like that.”

“So it’s overcounting the number of children who are ‘hospitalized with COVID’ as opposed to because of COVID,” he said. 

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